Swedish prosecutors have dropped an investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct by WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. Assange has denied the allegations, which he calls a pretext for his ultimate extradition to the U.S. to face prosecution under the Espionage Act. Since 2012, Assange has taken refuge in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London. It’s not clear whether Assange will emerge any time soon. “This is a small victory, but in this long road to free Julian Assange and all the people working for WikiLeaks,” says our guest Renata Avila, a Courage Foundation trustee and human rights lawyer. “But it will finally help us lawyers to focus on the main issue, which is the persecution, the political persecution, and imminent prosecution of Julian Assange in the United States.”
Assange, 45, took refuge in the embassy in 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden over the rape allegation, which he denies.
He feared Sweden would hand him over to the United States to face prosecution over WikiLeaks’ publication of thousands of classified military and diplomatic documents in one of the largest information leaks in U.S. history.
The Swedish prosecutor’s office said in a statement it had decided to end its investigation. In a court document seen by Reuters, chief prosecutor Marianne Ny said there were no further avenues to pursue to take the investigation forward.
However, London police issued a statement after the Swedish announcement making clear Assange was still wanted by them. “Westminster Magistrates’ Court issued a warrant for the arrest of Julian Assange following him failing to surrender to the court on the 29 June 2012,”
the police said.
“The Metropolitan Police Service is obliged to execute that warrant should he leave the Embassy.”